Mildura, 17 February 2011 |

Australia’s rising tennis stars will be on show at the Optus 12s & 14s National Grasscourt Championships, to be held at the Mildura Lawn Tennis Club from Tuesday 22 February.

The tournament forms part of the Optus Junior Tour, a series of events offering the country’s talented juniors valuable match experience on all the Grand Slam® court surfaces – grass, clay and hardcourt.

The 12/u event will feature Optus 12s Australian Championships semifinalist Max Purcell (Belrose, NSW) and quarterfinalist Audrey Teo (Berwick, Vic), who are expected to be top seeds in their respective boys’ and girls’ draws.

The 14/u event will include Optus 14s Australian Championships semifinalist Lawrence Bataljin (Tea Tree Gully, SA) and former Optus 12s Autumn Nationals runner-up Marc Polmans (East Brighton, Vic), while Optus 14s Australian Championships runner-up Annabelle Andrinopoulos (Oakleigh, Vic) will face a strong challenge from last year’s Optus 12s National Grasscourt champion Anja Dokic (Tuart Hill, WA) in the girls’ draw.

Tournament Director Francis Soyer looked forward to watching the exciting crop of young talent in Mildura and believes they will benefit from the experience of playing on grass.

“It’s important for kids to learn about technique and playing styles on other courts surfaces so that they can match it with the world’s best junior players,” Soyer said.

“Playing on grass and clay is an important part of their development and could even be the first steps in finding our next Australian champion at Wimbledon or the French Open.”

The juniors will also have the opportunity to watch Australian stars Casey Dellacqua (WA) and Olivia Rogowska (Vic) in action against a host of established international players, with the Mildura Grand International also taking place at the Mildura Lawn Tennis Club next week.

The Optus Junior Tour provides a clear competitive pathway for aspiring tennis players and in 2011 will offer Australian Ranking points across five levels – Platinum (also known as the Optus National Junior Championships), Gold, Silver, Bronze and White.

These tournaments offer points across the 12/u, 14/u and 16/u age groups, with select tournaments also offering points in the 18/u age group.

In total, 185 tournaments across Australia make up the Optus Junior Tour in 2011, giving all juniors the opportunity to obtain an Australian Ranking.